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Cook’s Grill closes after less than one year


Farragut’s controversial sign ordinance has another enemy: Walter Cook, former manager of Cook’s Grill on Kingston Pike between Kroger’s and the former Kmart building.

Cook said his restaurant was forced to close due to lack of roadside signage — forbidden by town ordinance — saying not enough potential customers could recognize that the lime green building was indeed a functioning restaurant.

“There was no way (for) people to really know we were here,” Cook said during the restaurant’s final hours of operation Saturday evening, April 23. “We were having people come in two and three a day and say ‘we didn’t even know you were here because there’s no signs out front. Our friend told us.’


“I had a lady come in last Friday (April 15) and said, ‘Oh, you’re closing, I thought you just opened up because a friend of mine told me about you last week,’” Cook added. “And I said, ‘no ma’am, how many times do you drive up and down the road a week?’ And she says, ‘Oh, three or four times a week, I didn’t know you were here.’”

Opening in July 2004, “We just couldn’t generate the volume that we needed to stay in business,” Cook said, adding that the lack of a roadside sign “was definitely the biggest thing” in terms of an advertising setback. That’s despite having a “Cook’s Grill” sign on the restaurant wall facing west.

Commenting specifically on the town’s sign ordinance, “I don’t see how a business, (which) cannot let people know where they are and what they’re selling, can stay in business,” Cook said.

Saying the decision was made to close the business “probably about the first of April,” Cook added, “I’d just like to thank all the people that did support us, we have an awful lot of what I call good friends.

“As I’ve said before, we have a lot of critics, maybe, on the color of the building. But even they like good barbecue and we appreciate them very much.”

As for future business plans, “We’re going to look and see what we can find,” Cook said.

 

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